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Tear gas flies in Colombia after protest over tax reform gets violent

STORY: Tear gas filled the streets of Colombia's capital of Bogota on Wednesday (April 28), after thousands of protesters took to the streets to demonstrate against a controversial government tax reform.

In downtown Bogota, riot police set off tear gas to control a large crowd. A number of protesters were detained and officers reported injured in the heated demonstration.

Wednesday's protest is the most recent in a series of marches which began near the end of 2019 against the social and economic policies of President Ivan Duque, who leaves office next year.

The proposed tax reform was originally meant to raise about $6 billion, equivalent to 2% of gross domestic product (GDP). However, earlier on Wednesday finance official Juan Alberto Londono said the government could lower the targeted sum to between 18 trillion and 20 trillion pesos ($4.8 billion to $5.4 billion) as it looks to build consensus among lawmakers.

The government is proposing a suite of new or expanded taxes on individuals and businesses, as well as reducing or eliminating many tax exemptions, including on product sales.

The reform is crucial for Colombia to keep its investment grade debt rating, according to the government.

(Production: Herbert Villarraga, Camilo Cohecha, Paul Vieira)


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